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Best decision we’ve ever made


Best decision we’ve ever made

Fin McCaul reflects on last year's challenges and achievements and steps into 2024 with confidence knowing his pharmacy has been improved by his Meditech dispensing robot…


Last year was certainly challenging for Prestwich Pharmacy and community pharmacy as a whole. One thing we are sure of is that implementing the Meditech dispensing robot was the best decision of the year and will continue to improve efficiency and patient care for years to come.

Since its installation in August, we have seen an increase in productivity week after week, paired with the support of our incredible team who have seamlessly embraced the new technology.

The weeks leading up to Christmas are very challenging for all businesses, and pharmacies everywhere braced themselves for the oncoming storm. Our performance that week served as proof that our ability as a pharmacy to succeed under pressure has only improved since we made the change to Meditech technology.

Our dispensers were able to deliver in their regularly scheduled hours with no overtime required, plus they processed 10 per cent more prescriptions than the previous year. Credit has to go to my incredibly hard-working team, but the support provided by the Meditech robot has been second to none.

With the introduction of new technology, comes a certain level of risk, and earlier in December we experienced our first challenge with the robot. One Saturday morning we discovered that the picking head wasn’t operating properly, so we called in the Meditech support team.

Almost immediately we had the remote service engineers dialled in from Belgium to offer troubleshooting support, and they sent UK-based engineers with a replacement picking head for Monday morning. The robot had returned to full functionality by 9.30 am and it was business as usual from then on.

This prompt and thorough response exemplifies Meditech's dedication to customer success, building our trust in both the people and the product. This is a testament to their commitment to providing solutions as well as outstanding technology, which we wholeheartedly endorse.

All that said, the robot development in isolation is not enough to withstand the pressure in community pharmacy, and we are continually looking to find ways to improve.

The January challenge is to enable assisted dispensing from PSL. This has the potential to relieve pressure on the team, and at the same time increase productivity further. It is a different way of working for the dispensing team, and with any change will come a little pain.

However, the gains to be had will be worth it, especially if we can create a more relaxed environment and meet the pressures of patients. We already know that the integration between PSL and Meditech will support this development, and more importantly - the speed channels will cope with the additional requests.

We just need to get our process right, the training right, and the team on board. There’s always room for improvement and I am confident that with further development we could increase the efficiency of our dispensing systems and improve patient safety without sacrificing accuracy.


Fin McCaul is the owner of Prestwich Pharmacy in Manchester.

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